Khabib Nurmagomedov has criticised Tony Ferguson for calling him out even after his retirement.
Nurmagomedov hung up his gloves after his UFC 254 win over Justin Gaethje. A few months prior to that we saw Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson to win the UFC interim lightweight title at UFC 249.
That card, which served as the first PPV after the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold, was initially supposed to feature Khabib vs Ferguson for the unified 155-pound belt. Unfortunately it was cancelled after Nurmagomedov had to return to Russia, marking the fifth time these two had been matched up together only for it to fall through.
The most notable instance of the fight not taking place was at UFC 223 in April 2018. During a media appearance in the build-up to fight night, Ferguson tripped over a wire and injured his knee. The injury ruled him out of the title showdown in a week that also included the infamous Conor McGregor bus incident.
Khabib Nurmagomedov warns Tony Ferguson
Now, it remains one of the greatest “what ifs” in MMA history – especially after Nurmagomedov retired last year.
After ‘El Cucuy’ continued to hint at a future fight against Khabib, the Russian star offered a stern response.
You have a fight soon, your opponent is very tough and most underestimated in lightweight division, focus on him. I wish you and your family best, even though you look like a shit.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) March 31, 2021
The opponent in question is rising contender Beneil Dariush. Ferguson will square off against the 31-year-old at UFC 262, on a card that will be main evented by Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira fighting over the vacant UFC lightweight title.
Oliveira was the latest man to beat Ferguson back at UFC 256, and with Tony now being 37 years old, some fans wonder if he’s officially on the decline.
He’ll be able to answer those questions against Dariush but whatever happens, it seems almost certain he won’t fight Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Chael Sonnen has hinted that the pair could compete in a grappling match against each other in his Submission Underground promotion, but as for mixed martial arts, that’ll likely remain an unsolved mystery.
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